My wife and I have had the pleasure of visiting Grenada 13 times over the past 20 years as tourists. We keep returning because we love the natural beauty and the openness and hospitality of the people.
We normally rent an apartment rather than stay at the large hotels. We use local transportation, purchase locally made products and foods at the supermarkets, spice market, farmer’s market and small stores. We walk a lot — our needs are few and we take care to respect the environment, the people and the traditions of Grenada.
It therefore comes as a surprise, that over the years we have seen little improvement in the way in which garbage is dealt with around the country. It’s difficult to understand why this is such a persistent problem — especially considering the impact it must have on tourism. Daily we walk the length of Grand Anse Beach, travel over the hill and happily spend the day on Morne Rouge Beach to read, swim, paint and carve — just “liming” in other words. En route we notice that garbage is always present — likely due to the fact that there are too few garbage repositories/bins, and despite the best efforts of the beach cleaning staff to keep ahead of the debris left behind by tourists and residents.
It’s not only the major beaches that seem to have this problem. On the walk into St George’s, its easy to see that garbage is indiscriminately thrown into the hills and ravines that parallel the road and sidewalk. On a recent trip to Bathway Beach, we were astonished to see the amount of garbage dumped right on the beach and on adjacent fields — much of it slowly going out to sea with the tide — and adding to the considerable pollution already contaminating our oceans and marine wildlife.
What gives? Virtually every Grenadian we have spoken with, has expressed great pride in their country — why then this massive disrespect to the environment that sustains and nurtures Grenadians?
If we may be permitted to offer some suggestions — respectfully acknowledging that we are not residents of your beautiful country:
- Increase the number of garbage bins throughout the country — especially in high volume areas such as beaches and tourist destinations
- Enforce littering and dumping regulations by imposing fines on tourists and residents alike
- Create a “Conservation Corps” comprised of children who would be taught the value of environmental stewardship, conservation and recycling. Garbage collected could be weighed and children given a monetary reward for each bag submitted. By the time these young people are adults, they will have incorporated the lessons of sustainable development in their daily lives, and pass these lessons on to their own children
- Discourage the use of plastic bags by charging shoppers for each bag at checkout. Encourage people to bring their own bags with them when visiting the supermarkets
For our part, we will continue to visit your beautiful country and hope to see the transformation of Grenada into a true green jewel of the Caribbean!
With the utmost respect,
Nick Previsich & Joelle Schmid
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada